ORANGE PARK – Shawn Moss is an agent at Florida Farm Bureau Insurance in Middleburg, but when he’s not in the office, you’ll likely either find him doing one of two things: reading his Bible or …
ORANGE PARK – Shawn Moss is an agent at Florida Farm Bureau Insurance in Middleburg, but when he’s not in the office, you’ll likely either find him doing one of two things: reading his Bible or fishing on St. Johns River, Black Creek or another beautiful waterway.
That’s why the Orange Park resident combined his strong passion for fishing and unfailing love for Jesus when creating his small business in 2020: Saltwater Gospel.
The brand sells performance fishing apparel, lifestyle apparel, performance hats, Dri-Fit headwear and Solar UPF wear.
Also available are two versions of Jesus-themed bumper stickers – one of the Christian religious figure holding a freshly-caught red drum and the other of the Savior posing with a sea trout.
Moss said his love for fishing and how the thrilling, fun outdoor activity helps him further connect with the awesome higher power that he so strongly believes in.
“Fishing is just really special to me. I consider it my church. You won’t see me in church every Sunday. I believe that my church is on the water. A lot of hunters and fishermen will tell you the same thing, that they’re closer to God out on the water or in the tree stand,” he said.
Moss said that he wants to further express faith through his products, but that the items are for everybody regardless of religious beliefs.
“I didn’t want to make a cliche Christian brand. I actually want to make dope products that people will wear. I couldn’t tell you how many times people walked by my booth and said ‘Oh man, that’s a cool hat.’ I really wanted to make lifestyle apparel that people can go fishing with or go out for a happy hour in,” he said.
The entrepreneur envisions Saltwater Gospel as a casual, open-door avenue for those who may be interested in learning more about Christ, Moss said.
“It’s just a creative invitation to open discussion. I think fishing is a great platform for that. Some people that buy my products do share my beliefs, and some don’t,” he said.
In the meantime, Moss has enjoyed impressive sales and attending several events to promote his products.
“Sales were really good in the fourth quarter of 2022 and we hope to continue that in 2023,” Moss said.
Saltwater Gospel was on hand at the 75th annual Jacksonville Boat Show at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center last weekend and toured several other events across the state a year ago, including the Orange Park Town Festival.
“I’m just trying to get out in the community and love people. My goal is to do this full-time,” he said.
The venture took a major self-commitment from Shawn to get everything going in the beginning and didn’t come without scary moments.
“It was a little scary, you know. ‘Where am I going to get the money for this, and what if I go all in and go into debt?’ I had a fear of failure,” Moss said.
The community’s positive reactions to his products, however, allowed Moss to harbor a renewed sense of hope in his endeavor.
“Once I got that positive feedback from the community and when it was so well received by Clay County, it gave me the confidence to step out and move forward,” he said.
To find out more about Saltwater Gospel, call or text (904) 282-0497 or visit www.saltwatergospel.com.